Edgewater, built in 1825 on the Hudson River in upstate New York, combines classical architecture with a dramatic setting to create one of the Hudson Valley’s most charming riverside homes. The house is built on a small peninsula extending into the river and faces due west across the river to the Catskill Mountains. Surrounded by green lawn, ancient trees, and water on three sides, the house seems secluded and has the feel of being on a small island.
With its high ceilings and tall windows, Edgewater seems more suited to a Southern climate than the Hudson Valley. There is some reason to believe that the design of the house may have been provided by Robert Mills, a prominent American architect of the early 19th Century and a native Charlestonian who returned to work in Charleston in the 1820s. Edgewater, with its Doric columns, Roman-arched doors, and tri-partite windows, is very similar to Mills’ work in South Carolina at the time. Overall, the house is more Roman than Greek, and the interior woodwork details seems more Federal period than Greek Revival.
The natural beauty and resources in the area surrounding Edgewater are also known to have inspired the earliest conservation agreements in the United States. In 1841 owner of nearby Montgomery Place, Louise Livingston, and her neighbor, Robert Donaldson, entered into an agreement to preserve the scenic landscape around the Sawkill tributary of the Hudson River. The promise made by these early preservationists to never develop this land for industrial use reflects a wider American sentiment in the early 19th century that viewed nature as an aesthetic resource to be protected.
What’s Going on at Edgewater
Read Life Along The Hudson: The Historic Country Estates of the Livingston Family by Pieter Estersohn, published by Rizzoli in 2018. This book features beautiful photography of Edgewater and over 30 other homes with Livingston Family history and describes their histories through the present day.
Edgewater is featured in a beautiful, new book entitled Private Gardens of the Hudson Valley by Jane Garmey with photography by John M. Hall. A wonderful addition to your library or a perfect gift, ask your favorite bookseller for a copy of this publication by Monacelli Press.
The Classical Ideal: Music & Architecture in Harmony started at Edgewater in New York, went to Ayr Mount in Hillsborough, North Carolina, then culminated at Millford in Pinewood, South Carolina. Click here to watch videos from the concerts!